"Eyes Turned Skyward"
In the days that followed, Rad saw
the humans again, but they never
left their planes unattended anymore.
They talked to him, and he chattered
back at them, but of course they
couldn't understand him.
Then one day they brought
a woman with long dark hair
and pockets full of peanuts,
who could understand him.
She talked in his head and
told him about something
called 'superpowers' which
apparently he had, because
ordinary squirrels could not
figure out how to fly airplanes.
Next she taught him how
to communicate with humans
by pointing to pictures on a board,
and how to understand the marks
that meant different sounds.
Rad learned that the bigger human
was called Arlo and the smaller one
was Mick. The woman was Senna.
Rad told them his own name,
and how he got it, and they
all shared a good laugh.
He also learned that humans had
all kinds of rules about flying machines,
and that his first plane had been meant
for a little robot pilot instead of a squirrel.
Senna even explained that "spoon"
didn't always mean a scoop to eat with --
it was also some group she belonged to
that focused on superpowers.
Rad went to work for SPOON
because they gave him a plane of
his very own, a blue-and-yellow beauty
with white stars and a real cockpit
with a cover to block the wind.
He named it the Flying Squirrel.
He enjoyed the experimentation
required to adapt a toy plane for
a squirrel pilot, and actively
took part in its development.
In his new plane, Rad flew
to find lost hikers and
SPOON valued him as
an aerial scout because
his small size made it possible
for him to reach places safely that
larger pilots and planes could not.
Rad didn't mind working for a living,
now that he knew how to do it,
because it let him fly.
Once he had gone up there
and looked down on the world
so small and far below, he knew
that forever afterward he would live
with his eyes turned skyward.
* * *
Senna Norton -- She has fair skin, hazel eyes, and long straight brown hair. Her parents are in the Air Force, so she grew up moving from one base to another and still has many friends there. However, it left her without any strong connection to a particular place. She works part-time at the Westbord SPOON base, and also does wildlife rescue.
Origin: Teenage experimentation with hallucinogens opened her awareness, allowing her to communicate with animals.
Uniform: On duty, she wears the Westbord SPOON uniform of a brown shirt and pants with the SPOON logo embroidered in gold on the chest pocket. Off duty, she favors casual women's wear. She likes beach colors such as aqua, coral, periwinkle, and sand.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Wildlife Rescue, Good (+2) Friends in the Air Force, Good (+2) Kind, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence
Poor (-2) No Roots
Powers: Good (+2) Animal Communication
Motivation: To improve relations between humans and other species.
* * *
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
-- Leonardo Da Vinci
Animal Communication may be framed as Zoolingualism, Animal Telepathy, Animal Empathy, or various other names for this superpower.
A speech board allows people to communicate by pointing at symbols, a type of assisted communication. There are different options for constructing and using adaptive equipment for communication. People learn how to use a speech board through stages. Think about what you want when making a communication book or other adaptive equipment. There are apps for creating speech boards and similar tools. You can find free symbols here. This speech board divides words by type. This one includes an alphabet.